VP Robredo pushes for creation of housing department

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo will ask President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent the bill that seeks to create a separate department for housing.

Robredo bared her plan during her presentation at the Social Development Summit in Davao City on Wednesday, August 17, where she highlighted the “institutional” dilemma of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

“HUDCC is not a department. It is only a coordinating council. We want to do so many things but it is not within our mandate,” said Robredo, who is HUDCC chair.

The Vice President said the creation of a housing department would cut short the process for the projects that her office wishes to implement.

“What we are doing now is if we need to do something that is out of our mandate, we go to the Office of the President and [he] will issue an Executive Order,” she said.

“Parang iyong puwede mong gawin sa isang araw, gagawin mo sa isang taon, kasi wala kang mandate (It seems that what you can do for one day can be accomplished for one year because you don’t have a mandate)," she added.

The HUDCC facilitates policies, plans and programs for the housing sectors. It sets the strategies but implementation is in the hands of key shelter agencies under it such as the National Housing Authority (NHA), National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC) and Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

There have been several attempts to convert the HUDCC into a department but bills proposing it have not been passed into law.

In December 2015, the House of Representatives approved a measure consolidating the HUDCC and the HLURB into a Department of Housing. But its counterpart bill in the Senate got stuck at the committee level.

In the 17th Congress, Senator Cynthia Villar filed  bill that seeks the creation of a Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development.

“But even without a Department of Housing yet, we need to make strides already in as much as there’s so much to be done,” the Vice President said.

Robredo aims to address the housing backlog, which may reach 5 million this year, by the end of her 6-year term.

She earlier said that her office is crafting a comprehensive housing plan in consultation with the World Bank and the United Nations Habitat.

The roadmap pieces together the individual efforts of all the housing agencies to streamline the projects so as not to waste government funds.

One of the challenges of completing the plan is the lack of necessary data such as the inventory of properties available for housing. – Rappler.com 

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.

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